At Port Kembla in the Illawarra over 10,000 steelworks workers are vulnerable due to the downturn in international steel prices and foreign manufacturers dumping sub cost steel on the Australian market, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said.
“Earlier this week the Greens called on Labor to back the growing campaign for local steel procurement so Mr Shorten's statement is welcome news,” she said.
“The Australian steel industry is on a knife edge. Supporting local procurement is a solid survival plan.
“A steel procurement policy is affordable, economically rational and crucial for saving our domestic steel industry.”
In NSW the Greens' Steel Industry Protection Bill 2016 requires all NSW government-funded infrastructure projects to use Australian-made steel wherever possible.
“NSW Labor are backing this state Greens bill and it is excellent news that federal Labor are also on board,” Rhiannon said.
“Last year in Parliament I urged the Liberal-National Government to work with the steel industry, unions, businesses and communities to develop a constructive Steel Industry Plan and public procurement frameworks.
“If Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull fails to back this survival plan he will be out of step with increasing numbers of OECD countries that have taken serious action to save their steel industries.”